How to Avoid the Clash of Civilizations By Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (216 Pages)Publisher: Cintinuum, 2003
2001 began as the United Nations Year of Dialogue between Civilizations. By its end, the phrase most widely quotes was "the clash of civilizations." The tragedy of September 11 brought home the depth and danger of religious divisions in the world today: between Muslim and Hindu in Kashmir; Muslim and Jew in the Middle East; Orthodoxy and Islam in the Balkans; Protestant and Catholic in Northern Ireland. As the twentieth century politics of ideology is replaced by the twenty-first century politics of identity, religion is set to play a larger part in the world arena than at any time since the Wars of Religion in the seventeenth century. Can religion overcome its conflict-ridden past and become a force for peace?
The Dignity of Difference by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is the first major global statement by a Jewish leader. It also marks a radical shift in the approach to religious coexistence. It is not enough, Sacks argues, to claim that all faiths and cultures share common values. Their differences are as important as their commonalities. What is needed is a compelling theological statement of the need to make space for difference. God has created many faiths but only one world in which to live together. The question posed by faith is: Can I recognize God's image in one who is not in my image?
The Dignity of Difference is the boldest theological statement by a world religious leader in many years. Only new thinking, Sacks argues, will prove adequate to the challenges of globalization, interconnectedness, and human vulnerability in an age of unprecedented change.